Here you will find some the information you need to get started making buttons. This post includes information on designing buttons, printing, cutting, materials and button making machines.
In order to make buttons you will need designs. People may send you print ready art, or you may be designing buttons yourself. Either way you are going to need to be able to take images and make them the correct sizes and layout pages for print. At ButtonMakers.net we offer the following options to help you with your button designs.
The purchase of a button maker from ButtonMakers.net gets you 3 months free subscription to this handy software that allows you to not only make buttons with perfect rounded text, but also layout pages for print. After the first 3 months or if you have a machine from elsewhere, it’s $10 a month to subscribe.
We offer free downloadable templates for Photoshop, Illustrator, and in PDF and PNG formats that you can use in any graphics program. The Photoshop ones are especially cool because they have perfectly placed circular paths for typing curved text and Photoshop has a nifty way to fill a page with your design once its complete. The Photoshop templates work with Photoshop Elements too!
Some people use Microsoft Publisher, Word, or Draw from Open Office (free) to design buttons. Word and Publisher should be able to work with the PNG templates we have available. And we have instructions available for using Open Office as well.
PRINTABLE BUTTON ART:
Here at Button Makers we know you’re busy an sometimes just need to download a quick award button for your students or some vote buttons for your constituents. So we have made these Printable Button Art sheets available for purchase. Just add them to your cart and check out, you will receive an email with the links to download complete PDF pages ready to print. The links will also be available in your order history in your ButtonMakers.net account. Psssst: Here’s a coupon code to try Printable Button Art for free! Just for readers of this blog!!
Once your graphics are designed you need to have them printed. There are 2 main ways most people print their button designs, Inkjet printers and laser printers. We will briefly discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each, and go into further depth in a later post.
Inkjet printers have the highest resolution and lowest costs up front, but can get costly when buying ink refills. Not all inks are created equal. Dye based inks will fade in the sun and run in the moisture. Pigment based inks are the way to go. You might have to go with a 3rd party continuous ink system, or an Epson EcoTank to get your printer to use pigment inks as most lower end printers are made for use with dye based ink. It is also important to keep in mind when using an inkjet printer that PAPER IS IMPORTANT. You see, the reason inkjet printers have such high resolution is because the tiny ink droplets get suspended in specially coated paper. You’ll notice that you can use standard office paper in an inkjet printer but the colors will be muddy and the lines not crisp. This can cause you to run out and buy expensive photo paper. But this is a no-no for buttons too since most button makers can’t work with paper that is too thick. (We have special button machines for photo, read thick, paper). In short, you need special inkjet paper for your inkjet printer that is not too thick. This the paper we use and recommend:
Epson Presentation Paper Matte
Laser printers are fantastic workhorses that don’t require any special toner to be archival or paper to be high resolution. Generally though, the more affordable models don’t offer anywhere near the color saturation, quality, and resolution of an inkjet printer. Laser printers are MUCH faster than inkjet when printing graphics, and this is important if you’re running a business or on a deadline. At the time of this writing, the best available printer in terms of price, speed, and image quality would be the Canon Color Image Class.
Laser printers do leave a kind of waxy film on the inside of button machine dies that can cause a weird bubble to happen on the side of your button. But a quick cleaning of the dies with a silicone based lubricant will take care of this problem. More on this in a later post.
Once your button graphics are printed, you will need to cut out the circles. Here are the 3 main ways to accomplish that
A graphic punch is the number recommended way to cut out circles. They are heavy duty, don’t go dull, fast, and accurate. They are made specifically for buttons, so they are the exact right size you need.
This adjustable rotary style cutter can be used to make multiple size circular cuts. It has presets for 1 inch, 1.5 inch, 2.25 inch, 3 inch, and 3.5 inch buttons.
This is not a recommended way to cut your graphics out for buttons because it’s hard to get things accurate. But it will work in a pinch and is cheap.
To make buttons you need button supplies. The parts we carry on ButtonMakers.net are guaranteed to be compatible with the machines that we carry. But be aware that not all machines in the world are compatible with all supplies – even if you’ve measured the size correctly. For example the Badge A Minit brand 2-1/4 inch button maker will not work with Button Makers standard 2-1/4 inch supplies. Also a lot of the machines manufactured in China use metric measurements. When they are sold in the US, they are marketed as 2-1/4, but really they are 57mm. If you’re unsure of compatibility, please check our Button Parts Compatibility page. If you’re still not sure, please contact us to ask for free samples to test.
Now that you have your graphics made, and cut, your button supply stash up to snuff, it is time to get down to the business of button making. At ButtonMakers.net we carry 2 lines of button making equipment: the ProMaker Series and the MultiMaker Series.
The ProMakers are top of the line US manufactured work horse button machines that have a lifetime warranty and will last forever. The MultiMaker machines have changeable dies so you can use one machine to make 4 different size buttons. Due to the nature of having to change out the dies, this machine is not quite as reliable as the ProMakers. It has a higher failure rate, generally and requires a little more babysitting. It comes with an allen wrench and you can work through most of the issues that pop up. But generally speaking the ProMaker is a professional grade machine, where the MultiMaker is better for hobbyists.